We just got news that our one-year extended-stay visa for French Polynesia was approved. And a French Polynesian yacht agent, a niece of a friend, will offer her services gratis to arrange in Papeete our immigration and customs affairs. Happy Birthday to me.
We initiated the process to get a 90-day, three-island cruising permit. We don’t plan to be in the Galapagos much longer than 20 days, which, were we to stay on only one island, entry fees would cost about $1350. But Leslie feels that since we’re there, and that it’s not likely we’d get another chance, might as well try to see more of the islands and make the experience as extraordinary as we can. All in, permits and fees for all three islands will probably come in south of $2000. This will perhaps be the most expensive stop in our multi-year journey. Because of the high cost, most cruisers skip it, so Happy Birthday to me.
After some technical reading and some help from Sailmail tech support via email, I figured out how to get our HAM/SSB radio working well. We can now drive the radio remotely through an email/weather fax application. Leslie and I also attended a webinar on marine SSB radios, giving an overview of the equipment and how to take full benefit of having a radio on board. Joseph from Horizon helped me navigate the software on our laptop to drive the radio. He also showed how to use a couple other handy navigational applications, extremely helpful. The radio, Pactor modem, USB GPS, and laptop are all working well together. I was so happy about it that I couldn’t sleep. Happy Birthday to me.
Leslie received all the medical supplies from our list. Germs don’t stand a chance on our boat. Happy Birthday to me.
After a couple of weeks of price adjustments, Leslie sold our 13-year old Toyota minivan. We did a lot of living through that van. Sad and glad to see it go. Now, only the Prius remains. Happy Birthday to me.
Talking with Dr. Dave and the Maritime Institute of San Diego, I’m thinking of taking the two weeks and spending the $1000-$1200 to get my Federal captain’s license before we leave for Mexico next month. Online courses, in-person teaching support, a physical, drug test, background check, a couple of photos, an exam and an application, and I’d have it. We’ll see, but Happy Birthday to me anyway.
Dan and Lydia on Amadora invited us over for a wonderful dinner, while offering us advice on places to moor Kandu and how to get around Puerto Vallarta, a place with which they are very familiar. They even told us which busses, shuttles, and taxis to take to get to Costco and Walmart, our last stops for provisioning before sailing to the Galapagos. Happy Birthday to me.
After having lived aboard Kandu for exactly one year, we leave Ventura West Marina for the Ventura Yacht Club tomorrow. Although we’re not leaving Ventura Harbor for a few days, psychologically it’s feeling like the preparation phase is transitioning into the departure. Of course, our departure is the grandest birthday gift of all (apart from a healthy and happy family of course). Our stay at VWM has been wonderful. The office found us a slip closer to like-minded live-aboards, allowing us to stay as long as we needed. VWM is a clean and well-run facility. If you’re looking for a place to live aboard your boat in Ventura Harbor, we highly recommend you consider it. Best of all, you’ll meet the families, couples, and persons who we’ll forever carry in our hearts, people who have been emotionally and physically constructive in the preparation of our departure. Their advice and encouragement helped our family through many challenges. We leave, sad to know it will be a while, if ever, before we meet them again; a phenomenon that will play out for the next several years as we make and leave friends all around the world. Happy Birthday to them all . . . .